Creature Comforts vs. Critical Engine Operation

There are two different systems cooling totally different things in your vehicle. They are

  1. The air conditioning system, and
  2. The cooling system

These two systems are commonly confused, so we’re here to share the difference.

And really, it’s the difference between creature comforts and optimal engine operation.

First up, the air conditioning system

This is the program that cools the human beings and the pets sitting on the seats and floor after a long play session down on Alki. You flip it on, direct the vents onto yourself & all of the passengers and you breathe a sigh of relief as the vented air cools you down.

Usually, on hot days (yes, even in West Seattle) it can’t get cold enough, fast enough, for everyone in the car.

This is also the system you use on hot days, when you’ve gone to the store and have a gallon of ice cream. You put the bags in the passenger side on the floor and turn on the vents to get the air conditioning blowing there too.

Then you have your cooling system

This is the system that cools your car. We’re talking about the engine, the radiator and many systems throughout your vehicle that need continual regulation and cooling.

If you have a cooling system problem it can be catastrophic.   If your air conditioning system isn’t cooling your body, you might not be very happy about it but you’re not going to melt, you will just have to roll the windows down.

If your coolant light comes on or your temperature gauge is at “hot”, please pull over and turn off your vehicle.  

If you continue to drive you could do a lot more damage than has already been done.  When in doubt, it’s always best to tow your vehicle to our shop than to risk driving and causing more damage.

You can always have your car towed or brought over to us here at Tom’s Automotive Service in West Seattle. Call to let us know you’re coming: (206) 937-1144.

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Our Reviews

Tom's Automotive Service
Reviewed from Google

4.4 out of 5 stars

Holli Margell
Holli Margell

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 weeks ago

What I appreciate most about Tom's Auto in West Seattle is their level of customer service. Compared to a dealership shop, their personal attention to details like explaining the list of items your car needs in order of priority helps to break it down and not be overwhelmed. Yes, car repairs can add up, but their approach makes it palatable. It puts us in the position to prioritize what to take care of first. They are experts in auto repairs and customer service!

Cassie Johns
Cassie Johns

5 out of 5 stars

posted 4 days ago

Tom's takes excellent car of my elderly car. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable and efficient. I've recommended Tom's to everyone I know!

Sheila Honeycutt
Sheila Honeycutt

5 out of 5 stars

posted 2 days ago

This was my first time at Tom's and it was a wonderful experince. The staff treated me with respect and provided great customer service. Thank you.


4 out of 5 stars

posted 4 months ago

High end auto repair in West Seattle. Professional, white glove kind of service. Seem to know what they're doing. Shuttle available. The two times I've been there have been positive experiences. Not cheap, but not outrageous by any means.
Would recommend.